They’re not calling it Googlebombing, of course. Chris Bowers at Daily Kos has given their new effort a happier name: “Grassroots SEO.” The SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s actually search engine manipulation:
The goal of Grassroots SEO is to get as many undecided voters as possible to read the most damaging news article about the Republican candidate for Congress in their district. It is based on two simple premises:
- One of the most common political activities people take online is to use search engines, mainly Google, to find information on candidates. (For more information, see the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s report on 2008 online political engagement.)
- These results of these searches are always in flux based upon hyperlinks anyone posts anywhere on the Internet, including message board comments and social networking sites (but not email).
As a result of this, not only is it possible for us to use our hyperlinks to impact what people find when they search for information on candidates, but we would be foolish not to do so in a way that benefited our preferred candidates. We are already impacting search engine rankings whenever we post any hyperlink anywhere, so we need to make sure the way we use hyperlinks helps result in our preferred political outcomes.
The comments that DKossacks have attached to the post are revealing. Several complain that it’s ethically questionable. Others complain that once the other side learns about it, we’ll either mock it or emulate it, or both.
I’m here to expose it and point out that it’s another manifestation of the Shadow Party.
The Shadow Party exists, remember, to destroy Republicans by generating complaints against them which generate negative press for them. To that end, the Shadow Party sets up front groups to pose as non-partisan watchdogs or as non-partisan media outlets, and deploys those groups and outlets to build up an echo chamber that generates so much noise that the so-called mainstream press reports on it. The game is to ruin the Republican’s reputation, drive up their negatives, and then have the Democrat in the race win by default. In some cases that I know of in Texas, the actual Democrat being proffered is just a cutout for big money Democrats to control once they’re elected. The whole enterprise is the very “politics of personal destruction” that Democrats busily and dishonestly decry, even while they seek to benefit from it.
And here comes the Daily Kos on the back end of that. They are, by their own admission, searching out the most damaging stories on Republicans and then going to work to drive them higher in Google search rankings so that unsuspecting voters will stumble upon them when seeking out information about their local candidates. This makes DKos and its readers activists, as opposed to bloggers or blog readers. And they are engaging directly in the politics of personal destruction.
Kos will undoubtedly deny any connection to Soros or any other Shadow Party operator or funder. That’s what he did when I debated him. But Chris Bowers’ post is proof positive that he and his blog are part of the left’s Shadow Party (not that there was any doubt before). Their “Grassroots SEO” wouldn’t work as well if the Shadow Party hadn’t already laid the necessary groundwork of manipulating a willing press into hounding Republicans on these mostly bogus complaints.
Blogs and, more importantly, candidates on the right should take note of the DKos “Grassroots SEO” effort and see it for what it is: an attempt to fool unsuspecting voters into pulling the lever based not on issues, but on manipulation and lies. Of course, this isn’t new, it’s just a new version of what these folks have been doing for years.